17 year-old Zayna has just completed a work experience placement here at Turf – here she explores and reviews our current exhibition You’re Surrounded By Me.
You’re Surrounded By Me received it’s name from Liam Geary Baulch’s chant of the ‘sea’, and it’s presence in our lives…or lack thereof – homing in on the question, ‘Are we really as aware as we think we are?” Though we amble around thinking we have a grip on our thoughts, feelings and emotions, in reality, we don’t actually have a clue.
I, myself, can definitely second this. As a stereotypical 17 year-old teenage girl who naturally thinks that at this very mature age she knows it all, it is incredibly terrifying being hit with this reality that we aren’t all as aware as we think we are. I can’t think to imagine what that must feel like for a more experienced 30 year old!
A whopping 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water and it is our very own oceans that hold around 96.5% of all the earth’s water. We are standing here on our little island called the United Kingdom surrounded by these masses of water molecules and all their power, and yet we are oblivious to the harm we are inflicting on them as these risks continue to grow unquestioned and unnoticed.
This same metaphor is wisely applied to many other instances in our lives, presented beautifully by the works of the artists in this exhibition: Katherine Midgley, who explores and questions the activities of the company Lendlease through her insightful film documentation; Chris Alton, who creates a hub of free thinking and education in Trump-owned wealthy spaces; Jasleen Kaur who investigates the flexibility of culture in relation to materials and objects; Naomi Fitzsimmons who seeks to connect with her photographic ‘idol’ in the form of a stock image model and last but not least, Liam Geary Baulch and his Sea Squad, chanting and dancing against climate change.
Whilst browsing around the exhibition, I took a particular liking to the works of Naomi Fitzsimmons and the concept behind her work. Her artistic film, lasting just over 13 minutes, told the story of her encounter with Ariane and the intense journey that followed soon after. I learnt that identity is the most important thing to a person and sometimes the hardest thing to figure out. It is also the easiest to lose. Though over-exposed and ever present in Naomi’s life, ‘Ariane’ the stock image model was nothing but a mere photograph. Fitzsimmons cleverly analyses the status of images present in our lives and the effects they have on us, as well as the relationships we share. I found Fitzsimmons’ concept to have a great impact on me as in this day and age, with social media ever growing, our upkeep of appearances is becoming vital in order to fit in. But then I asked myself, “what do models really achieve whilst wearing fancy clothes and representing a brand?” (though some of the outfits are questionable). We naturally remember the company itself and soon their faces become a blur. So why change your appearance to fit ‘the look’ when deep down YOU, as a person, form your identity.
Overall, the exhibition was eye opening, as it should be as we clearly are walking around not looking!